"These kids come in showing some kind of symptoms that are similar to other addictions and chemical dependencies," said Bakker to the Beeb. "But the more we work with these kids the less I believe we can call this addiction. What many of these kids need is their parents and their school teachers--this is a social problem."
Bakker opened the Smith & Jones Centre in 2006, and has since treated hundreds of patients who suffer from what appears to be an addiction to gaming. However, Bakker has now found that only 10% of the patients treated at his clinic had traditional drug-related addictions, leading him to believe that "addiction" may not be a relevant term to classify his patients' problems.
"It's a choice," he said. "These kids know exactly what they are doing and they just don't want to change. If no one is there to help them, then nothing will ever happen."
"If I continue to call gaming an addiction it takes away the element of choice these people have. It's a complete shift in my thinking and also a shift in the thinking of my clinic and the way it treats these people."
The American Medial Association last year backed down from classifying videogame addiction as a formal disorder following the publishing of a lengthy report on the subject. The AMA's report concluded: "As with findings on long-term aggression, there is currently insufficient research to definitively conclude that video game overuse is an addiction."